Winds gusting to 140 km/hr, flooding, slips, and major damage from trees through lines are making restoration attempts difficult and impossible in some situations.
Overnight, we have suffered damage to several main high-voltage feeders, and currently have around 30,000 customers without power across the network. We are currently working to fully understand the severity of the damage caused overnight and make sites safe. In effect, we have seen the extent of damage double within a twelve-hour period, materially lifting the level of rebuild required on our network.
Zone substations at Ruakaka, Ruawai, and Poriti have been impacted due to main high-voltage feeder lines that supply these substations being badly damaged. We have seen damage across our whole region, and so most areas outside of the main townships of Whangarei, Mangawhai, and Dargaville are currently experiencing outages due to considerable damage.
Today, given the high gusts of wind are forecast to continue until around 10 pm tonight, our priorities are to ensure everyone is safe by isolating damaged lines, particularly around the western areas where we are seeing new damage. Our crews are out in full force, and we have additional crews from other parts of New Zealand here helping.
Our crews are out scoping the extent of new damage, working to understand the extent of the damage, and reconfiguring the network to minimise outage areas and the number of customers affected where we can. Where possible we are repairing the network as we go. This work will enable us to provide a more definitive view of the sequencing of repair work.
As the overnight damage is assessed we will continue to update and share more information when we fully understand the damage from last night. However, as damage continues to occur from the high winds, we anticipate the number of affected customers will remain at a similar level. If you are without power now, please plan to be without power for up to a week. We will keep information updated on our website northpower.com/gabrielle and Facebook feed.
We have extensive construction capability and a high number of crews available. Once the weather clears and the situation stabilises this will enable us to complete construction rebuilds and repairs at pace. Even with that level of resource, the extensive nature of the damage means it is likely to take up to a week to rebuild core aspects of the network.
For those areas that are not specifically listed above, power will be progressively restored over the next week. Typically, the damage pattern to these areas reflects multiple tree-related damage sites and our crews will step through repairs as quickly as they can be completed.
If you have damage to your service line (the line on your property) you may be able to get a contractor to help you. A list of approved contractors is available at: northpower.com/gabrielle. If you have damage to your switchboard your electrician will be able to help.
We would like to thank the public and especially those without power for their patience and understanding as we work through this.
A reminder to please treat all lines and equipment as live at all times, please stay well clear of downed power lines and call us on 0800 10 40 40.